Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Path of Daggers - Chapters 8-9

By the original schedule, I would have been done the series shortly. Instead, I am just past half done. It's still very rewarding, but it is a constant battle to impose writing regularly over the other events life throws at me. Thanks for your patience and sticking around!

In this section, new and old groups in Perrin’s camp are keeping secrets. Maybe.

Perrin’s main problems have been presented already, now we get to see some of the tools and people at his disposal.

The camp promises to be simpler to deal with than his current predicament. It presents some mild difficulties which are easily dealt with, as the description of its location implies: The camp lay about a league further on, well back from the road, among low wooded hills, just beyond a stream that was ten paces’ width of stones and only five of water never deeper than a man’s knees.

It is composed of three parts: Mayener, Aiel, and Two Rivers men. The difficulties stem from none of the factions really being sure the others share the same goal. The newcomers led by Morgase may make yet another faction, despite that Lini is advocating that they try fit into their new roles since their old lives are done with.

The factions differ on several issues, including whether Perrin should fly his banners, and whether Masema should be killed or brought to heel. While Perrin worries over the untold secrets among his current followers, he accepts at face value the story told by Morgase’s followers. Even his wife’s own followers have secret missions they carry out on Faile’s behalf!

Faile’s idea to fly the banners to distract attention away from Perrin’s true objective brings some comments from Perrin: Quicksilver. A kingfisher flashing by faster than thought. Both descriptions of Faile’s idea not only imply speed, but the quality of her idea, and her rank or position as well. Kingfishers may not be the only fast birds, but the words king and fisher offer the idea of leadership and correctness. Silver implies wealth and rarity.

With Perrin being so trusting, details about what the factions are up to can only be delivered by points of view of those involved in them, so Faile and Morgase sections tell us about their plans and plights. Even after Dumai’s Wells, Faile thinks kidnapping is the best means to get to Alliandre. Rand may not appreciate having his allies treated the way he was, even if handled gently.

The fear of hidden agendas is everywhere. The farriers worry that Perrin has some ulterior motive in examining their work with horseshoes when all he wants is a chance to do something for himself instead of people scurrying to serve him.

Unintentionally, Perrin finds himself doing the exact sort of subterfuge he dislikes, laying rumours among the Mayeners about his intentions regarding Manetheren, and somehow gaining more direct support from them while Berelain is away. It’s not something a ruler is bound to like.

Finally Perrin accuses the Aiel Wise Ones of having secret plans for the Aes Sedai, possibly involving murder. The Wise Ones and Aes Sedai both tell him to mind his own business, this is just normal apprenticing, though it began against the Wise Ones intentions. They also hide nothing regarding Masema, they would prefer him dead, sooner rather than later.

In general, things are not what they seem at the surface. Those who seem to be hiding secrets are not, while Perrin overlooks the many secrets being hidden by those he trusts. We’ve now met everyone in the camp except the Asha’man, but there will soon be more new arrivals. Overall it feels like an exceptionally long introduction to the people tagging along with Perrin. As I postulated back in Perrin’s section which open The Dragon Reborn, one reason Perrin’s sections may seem to move slower is because they are Perrin sections. His manner of observing and taking action demands a slower pace, and a very complete oversight of all the relevant people and places around him. Portraying Perrin as a slow and methodical person would be more difficult if his Point of View chapters jumped about rapidly. This translates into impatience for the reader.

Writing Lessons:

You can portray character by the pacing, tone, and setting of the story, not just by their reaction to events.

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